Mendie's son Liam was in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at CHOC Children's Hospital for nearly two months. During that time, she and her family used the Ronald McDonald Family Room, located just steps away from Liam's hospital room on the 6th Floor. Amenities include a TV, computers, quiet rooms, a kitchenette stocked with coffee and snacks, and caring volunteers on site from 9:00am to 9:00pm daily. "The Ronald McDonald Family Room on the 6th Floor was such a lifesaver," shared Mendie. "I have three other kids, and when they got bored, it was nice to take them to the Ronald McDonald Family Room to watch TV, play a game, or grab a snack from their kitchen."
Ronald McDonald Family Rooms were founded on the premise that the presence of a patient's family in the hospital helps them heal faster. In addition, staying close by allows parents to better communicate with the child's medical team, improving adherence to complicated treatment plans. Families who have a sick child in the hospital often don't take time for themselves. They focus all of their energy on the care of their child. With the Ronald McDonald Family Room, they are able to take a few moments to relax, reflect, and spend a few quiet moments before returning to the noise of the hospital room. Mendie said, "I also spent time in their private rooms. It's a great place to be able to talk to family on the phone privately, without having to leave the hospital."
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at CHOC Children's Hospital also offers regular dinners for the families, some of whom have been living on hospital cafeteria food and vending machine snacks for weeks and months at a time. "On Tuesday nights, they have dinner for the families, which makes it so nice if you don't want to leave your child," explains Mendie. "The Ronald McDonald Family Room made our situation easier, and we are so grateful to have a place like it."